Attorney-at-law, Ruggles Ferguson has confirmed filing a civil lawsuit in the Grenada Supreme Court Registry to seek the return of US$1 million dollars and damages in the same amount against Grenada’s controversial passport seller, Robert Martin who is doing business with NTL trust in Nevis.
Ferguson, the lead attorney in Ciboney Chambers is acting on behalf of an overseas attorney, Johanan Lafeuillee Doughlin who is trying to find Oveson to serve the legal papers on him.
It’s the first case filed in the local courts against an individual associated with the sale of Grenadian passports under the Citizenship By Investment (CCBI) programme.
Oveson is accusing of engaging in a scam against the multi-millionaire, Roger Ver who is known in international cyberspace world as “Bitcoin Jesus” for his involvement in a type of foreign currency transaction that is hard to trace.
The high court claim listed as #0053 of 2017 was filed on February 10 against the backdrop of moves by those associated with the Levera project to distance Oveson from the business.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduced the lawsuit filed against Oveson:
STATEMENT OF CLAIM
The Claimant Roger Keith Ver was at all material times a citizen of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis with an interest in becoming an economic citizen under the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program (the Grenada “CIP”).
The First Defendant Robert Martin Oveson was at all material times acting on behalf of himself and for NTL Corporate (a Panamanian company) who at all material times was agent for the Second Defendant.
The First Defendant was also at all material times the President and Managing Director of the Third Defendant (Grenada Citizenship Development Ltd).
The First Defendant was the face and controlling interest behind the Second Defendant and Third Defendant at all material times.
The Second Defendant NTL Trust Limited is a company incorporated and registered under the Laws of Nevis and Numbered 15 of 2001 and a duly approved international marketing agent under the Grenada CIP.
The Third Defendant, Grenada Citizenship Development Ltd. is a company incorporated and registered in Grenada under the Companies Act 58(A) of 2010 Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada with its registered office in Lucas Street St. George’s Grenada C/O Grant Joseph & Co Attorneys-at-Law.
In or about June, 2015, the Claimant applied for economic citizenship in Grenada under the Grenada CIP. From the very outset, even before his application was submitted for approval, the Claimant made very clear to the First and Second Defendants, that should there be the slightest indication that his application would not be approved by the Grenada CIP Committee he wanted the process terminated, his application withdrawn and his money returned.
The Claimant was assured by the First and Second Defendant that his application would be reviewed by their legal counsel prior to submission to the Grenada CIP Committee.
Grenada Citizenship by Investment program.
The Grenada CIP above referred to, came into being in or about August 2013, when the Grenadian Parliament passed the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act, 2013, Act No.15 of 2013, as amended (the “CBI Act”).
The stated objective of the CBI Act is to “enable persons to acquire permanent residence and citizenship of Grenada by registration following investment in Grenada.”
Applicants may only make two types of investments to obtain citizenship or permanent residence as follows:
(i). They must make “a payment into the National Transformation Fund;” or
(ii). They must make “a payment towards an approved project in Grenada.”
The National Transformation Fund (NTF) was established under section 43(1) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act Cap 262B, and is responsible for funding Government-sponsored projects in Grenada.
‘Approved project’ is defined under Section 3 of the CBI Act, as “a project that is approved by the Minister following the review and recommendation of the Citizenship by Investment Committee.”
Prior to applying for citizenship under the CIP, the Claimant visited the Grenada Government’s official CIP website (the “CIP Website”) and followed the instructions therein outlined for applying for economic citizenship as follows:
(a). The first step in applying for citizenship is choosing an Authorised International Marketing Agent.
(b). Applications for citizenship may not be submitted directly to Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Committee (CBIC) and must only be handled by agents.
(c) Applicants must contact an Authorised International Marketing Agent, who in turn will liaise with an Authorised Local Agent.
(d). Applicants may not contact Authorised Local Agents directly.
(e). An ‘Authorised International Marketing Agent’ is a trusted global marketer who is permitted to promote the Programme and who assists applicants along with the Authorised Local Agent.
(f). An ‘Authorised Local Agent’ is someone who has been granted a Local Agent’s licence by the Minister and who is authorized to act on behalf of the main applicant with respect to his or her application.
Claimant Chooses Marketing Agent and Local Agent
In accordance with the guidance from the Grenada CIP website, in or about June, 2015, the Claimant retained the services of the Second Defendant as his Authorized International Marketing Agent and the Second Defendant selected Ms. Sheila Margaret Harris as the Authorized Local Agent to assist with the processing of the Claimants’ Grenada economic citizenship application.
The Immigration Service Agreement
In or about mid June, 2015, the Second Defendant produced to the client a document entitled Immigration service agreement No. NTL-RV /GR-006 Citizenship by Investment program of Grenada (the ‘Immigration Service Agreement’) which is described as an agreement “for immigration assistance, consulting and representation services”.
On or about 24 June, 2015, the above Immigration Service Agreement was entered into by NTL Corporate Services Inc. a company registered in the Republic of Panama and numbered 703900, document 1792454, acting as agent for the Second Defendant on the one part and the client on the other part.
In accordance with clause 3 of the Immigration Service Agreement, the Second Defendant expressly agreed to provide to the Claimant certain services, which included the following:
*Initial advice and consulting on the Citizenship by Investment Program in general
*Advice and assistance regarding options for fulfilling the investment requirements.
*Regular status updates to the client while the application is being processed at the CBI Authority, up until notification of a final decision.
The Second Defendant produced the additional documents hereunder to the Claimant for his signature, which he signed concurrently with the Immigration Service Agreement:
*Citizenship Certificate Agreement;
*Statement of fees Mount Cinnamon Agreement; and
*The Escrow Agreement
At all material times, the Claimant dealt primarily with the First Defendant regarding the status of his Grenada CIP application Claimant makes payment towards Approved Project
In keeping with the requirement under the CBI Act the Claimant made a payment of US $340,07.00 towards the Mount Cinnamon Project in Morne Rouge in the Parish of St. George, an approved Project under the Grenada CIP.
The Claimant thus wired Three Hundred Forty Thousand Five Hundred Seven Dollars and Fifty Nine Cents United States Currency (US $340,507.59) into an escrow account held and managed by Sheila Harris, the Authorized Local Agent above named.
Updates on Citizenship Application
Between June, 2015, and October, 2016, the Claimant sought and received updates from The Second Defendant primarily through the First Defendant about the status of his Grenada CIP application.
At all material times the First Defendant assured the Claimant that his citizenship application was being processed, and he was led to believe that it would be favorably determined.
During discussion leading up to the outcome of the Claimants’ citizenship application the Second Defendant primarily through the First Defendant made certain representations to the Claimant (the “Representations”) with the intention of inducing the Claimant to enter into binding agreements and otherwise with the intention that the Claimant would rely on the representations. These Representations were made partly orally and partly in writing the gist of which is as follows:
Insofar as the Representations were oral they consisted of phone and Skype conversations between the Claimant and the Second Defendant primarily through the First Defendant, in or about January, 2016, whilst the Claimant was at his Tokyo, Japan, home, wherein the Third Defendant through the First Defendant stated the following to the Claimant:
(a). That the Claimant’s citizenship application was still being processed; and
(b). That the Claimant’s citizenship application had a “few hiccups” but would be approved if the Claimant switched his Approved Project investment from USD$340,507.59 in Mount Cinnamon to USD $ l,OOO,OOO.OO in the Levera Beach Resort project which is situate in the North of Grenada in the parish of St. Patrick’s.
(c) . In or about early February, the First Defendant shared with the Claimant that Escrow Agent Ms. Sheila Harris would return the balance of the money in her escrow account (which was approximately US$50,000 less than the amount originally deposited), so that he could make the bigger investment of US $l,OOO,OOO.OO for the successful processing of his Grenada CIP application.
Insofar as the Representations were written they included and were contained in:
(a). Written Skype discussion between the Claimant and the Second Defendant primarily through the First Defendant which took place January through to February, 2016 (the “January through February, 2016, “Written Skype Discussions”) ;
(b). 22 January, 2016, email correspondence from the Second Defendant by way of the First Defendant to the Claimant (the “22 January, 2016, email correspondence”); and
(c). 08 and 09 February, 2016, email correspondence from the Second Defendant by way of the First Defendant to the Claimant containing email thread between the First Defendant and a Yuriy Blazhevych, an employee and/or agent of the Second Defendant (the “08 & 09 January, 2016, email correspondence”).
The following are relevant written Representations as contained in the January through February, 2016, Written Skype Discussions:
(1/22/16, 8:30:10 PM): Robert Martin: you around?
Roger Ver: Hi Robert
Roger Ver: I’m here
Robert Martin: Hello hello
Roger Ver: Great to hear from you.
Roger Ver: I’m hoping it is with good news
Robert Martin: It is good, a few hiccups but end result is good
(2/8/16, 8:27:08 PM)
Robert Martin: IDEA: What if we leave the investment agreement at $lmm, and then do a separate (sic)”Buy-Back” agreement – where we commit to buy back shares from you at X within y months etc Robert Martin: that way the Government still sees the larger investment (makes them happy)
Robert Martin: And then what ever terms you and I negotiate- we put them in the Buy Back agreement Roger Ver: Sounds good to me.
Robert Martin: BTW – Thanks – got your signed contracts
Robert Martin: Will sign and get back to you.
The following are relevant written Representations as contained in the 22 January, 2016, email correspondence between the Claimant and the First Defendant:
(a). I am very happy to share the info today on the phone. As I mentioned we be (sic) shifting your investment, which is still sitting in escrow, into the Levera project. I will get you the new investment agreement tomorrow so that we can submit it to… government asap.
The following are the relevant written Representations as contained in the 08-09 January, 2016, email correspondence between the Claimant and the First Defendant:
Yuri: I have an existing client that is interested Comoros. He already has SKN, and will be getting Grenada soon. I don’t think that Comoros should be a problem.
Can you please send a quote for an investor and his wife. Thanks.
NTL TRUST LIMITED
The First Defendant Second Defendant and Third Defendant made the above Representations with the intention that the Claimant would rely on same and with the intention of inducing the Claimant to enter into written Agreements with the Third Defendant, solely for the use and benefit of the aforementioned Defendants and adverse to the interest of the Claimant.
More specifically, the First and Third Defendants were well aware, contrary to the expectation of the Claimant, that the further investment of US $l,OOO,OOO.OO was not made pursuant to any pending citizenship application as the Claimant was made to believe, as more fully detailed hereunder.
At all material times the Third Defendant whether by its acts omissions and concealment and misrepresentations, facilitated the representations of the Second Defendant.
Discussions surrounding Bitcoins
At all material times the Claimant duly informed the First Defendant and the Second and Third Defendant by way of the First Defendant that he kept most of his United States Currency in Bitfinex (Bitcoin exchange with margin trading) and the First Defendant Second Defendant and Third Defendants were fully aware that he had to liquidate some of his Bitcoin investment in order to raise the US $l,OOO,OOO.OO investment sum.
Claimant enters written agreements with the Third Defendant
Induced by and in reliance on the above Representations, the Claimant entered into the following written agreements with the Third Defendant on 12 February, 2016:
*Limited Partnership Interest Repurchase Agreement
thereby effectively switching his approved real estate project from Mount Cinnamon project to the Levera Development Project for the successful processing of his Grenada CIP application, as he was led by the First Defendant and Second Defendant to believe.
The Following are relevant terms of the Investment Agreement:
(a). By Recital paragraph 4, of the investment Agreement, the parties agree that the Third Defendant (as Master Developer) is desirous of obtaining the Development Land Parcel therein described for the purposes of developing a destination hotel and residential resort and real estate development (the “Project”) and is seeking investment towards purchasing the said land and initial development of the Project;
(b). By Recital paragraph 6, the parties state their intention that the US $1,000,000.00 investment sum paid over by the Claimant would go towards purchasing the Development Land Parcel as follows:
AND WHEREAS the Investor is prepared to provide the investment necessary to facilitate the purchase the Development Land Parcel and the commencement of the construction and marketing of the Project (emphasis ours).
(c). By Article 1(1) the Claimant to pay to the First Defendant the full sum of US $1,000,000.00 upon execution of Investment Agreement, the said sum to be sent via wire transfer to and be held in the RBTT Bank Grenada Limited Escrow Account Numbered 760 333 5 held by Grant, Joseph & Co. the attorneys for the Third Defendant.
By Paragraph 1 of the Recitals of the Limited Partnership Purchase Agreement the parties agree to make the Investment Agreement above referenced part of the Limited Partnership Purchase Agreement.
Claimant wires US $1,000,000.00 to Third Defendant
The Claimant liquidated Two Thousand Four Hundred Sixty Nine Point One Four (2,469.14) Bitcoins (then the monetary value of US $1,000,000.00/Four Hundred Five United States Dollars (US$404.00) for each Bitcoin) in order to raise and wire the investment sum of US $l,OOO,OOO.OO to Account Numbered 760 333 5 held at the RBTT Bank Grenada Limited Escrow by Grant, Joseph & Co. the attorneys for the Third Defendant.
As of the time of these proceedings, the 2,469.14 Bitcoins are worth approximately One Thousand Twelve United States Dollars (US$1,012.00) each.
At all material times the Claimant was induced by the First and Third Defendants to believe that the sum transferred would virtually guarantee the successful processing of his pending Grenada CIP application.
The First Defendant and Second Defendant then instructed that the Claimant courier to them new documents in order to complete the processing of his pending Grenada CIP application as some of the documents had expired and/or needed to be resent as requested by the Grenada CIP Committee.
As the First Defendant, Second Defendant and Third Defendant well knew, their Representations made to the Claimant to induce his entering into the Investment Agreement and Limited Partnership Purchase Agreement with the Third Defendant were not true and were in fact wholly false and fraudulent.
PARTICULARS OF FALSE REPRESENTATIONS
(a). Deliberately failing to inform the Claimant that his June, 2015, application for economic citizenship had been denied by the CBI Committee in November 2015.
(b). Deliberately misrepresenting to the Claimant that he would obtain economic citizenship once he switched investment from the Mount Cinnamon Project into the Levera Project;
(c). Deliberately misrepresenting to the Claimant, in particular in between December 2015 and 2016 that his economic citizenship application was being processed, knowing fully well that the application had already been denied in November, 2015.
(d). Falsely misrepresenting to the Claimant in particular in between December 2015 and October 2016 that his Economic Citizenship application would be determined favourably knowing fully well that the application had already been denied in November 2015.
(e). Inducing the Claimant to invest USD $1,000,000.00 into the Third Defendant by falsely representing to him that such sizeable investment would hasten a securing (of) his approval of Economic Citizenship application knowing fully well that the Claimant had no application pending at the time;
(f). Utilising the Claimant’s funds for the purpose for advancing the economic interest of the First Defendant and the Third Defendant to the detriment of the Claimant;
The First and Second Defendants made the Representations fraudulently and/or negligently, because they knew that they were false, without any genuine belief that they were true, or recklessly not caring if they were true or false with the intent that the Claimant should rely on them and with the purpose of deceiving the Claimant and inducing a contract and the Claimant relied upon the Representations and was thereby induced to enter into the contracts.
The Claimant relied upon the false Representations as intended by the Defendants and acted to his detriment in reliance on those Representations and in consequence adversely altered his position and suffered loss and damage.
PARTICULARS OF FRAUD AND/OR DECEIT
(a). The First Defendant, the Second Defendant and the Third Defendant knew or ought to have known that the Claimant’s June, 2015, application for economic citizenship had been denied by the Grenada CIP Committee on or about 23 November, 2015, and they deliberately withheld that material fact from the Claimant;
(b). The facts which show that the First Defendant and the Second Defendant well knew that the representation was false and/or deceitful or reckless as to the truth of the representation are as follows:
(i). The First Defendant, Second Defendant and the Third knew, received written notice on or about 23 November, 2015, that the Claimant’s June, 2015, application before the Grenada CIP Committee had been denied.
(ii). The second Defendant and the Third Defendant knew that the First Defendant in fact made false and deceitful representations to the Claimant and that the First Defendant otherwise withheld material facts from the First Defendant and the Second Defendant and the Third Defendant facilitated a scheme along with the First Defendant to defraud the Claimant out of sums above discussed;
PARTICULARS OF LOSS AND SPECIAL DAMAGE
(i). The investment sum of US $1,000,000.00 paid over to the Third Defendant under the Investment Agreement and the Limited Partnership Interest Repurchase Agreement;
(ii). The appreciated value of the 2,469.14 Bitcoins that were liquidated to raise the above sum of US $1,000,000.00 to be paid over to the Third Defendant being approximately Two Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US $2,500,000).
(iii). All Courier, airfare, hotel and other associated fees and expenses attendant to this claim in the sum of US $11,875.39.
The Claimant is also entitled to and Claims compound interest in common law or interest pursuant to sections 27 and 27A of the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court (Grenada) Act Chapter 336 of the Laws of Grenada on the amounts found to be due to the Claimant at such rate and for such period as the Court thinks fit;
By reason of the above matters the Claimant is entitled to rescind the Investment Agreement and the Limited Partnership Interest Repurchase Agreement.
On 09 February 2017, the Claimant gave notice in writing to the Defendants of the exercise of his right to rescind the Investment Agreement and the Limited Partnership Interest Repurchase Agreement above referenced.
The Claimant has complied with the usual pre-caution conduct and afforded the Defendant’s well over two months and counting in order that they might satisfy the Claimant’s damages but the Defendant has failed to do so.
And the Claimant claims:
(1). A declaration that the First, Second and Third Defendants induced the Claimant, fraudulently and/or negligently and/or deceitfully into investing the sum of US $l,OOO.OOO,OO into the Third Defendant purportedly to virtually guarantee the securing of Grenada economic citizenship for the Claimant.
(2) A declaration that the First, Second and Third Defendants fraudulently and/or deceitfully represented to the Claimant that an investment of US $l,OOO,OOO.OO into the Third Defendant for the Levera Development Project would secure for him the approval of his pending application for economic citizenship under the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme (ClP).
(3) A declaration that the First and Second Defendants acted in violation of the Grenada Citizenship By Investment Act (CBl Act) by failing to inform the Claimant that his June 2015, application for economic citizenship had in fact been denied in or about November, 2015, and was thus no longer pending as purported.
(4) A declaration that the First and Second Defendants acted in violation of the Grenada CBl Act by failing to ensure that the monies held in escrow pursuant to the Claimant’s proposed investment into an Approved Project (the Mount Cinnamon Project) be returned to him within seven (7) days of the denial of his application by the Grenada CIP Committee.
(5) Return of the investment sum of US $l ,000,000.00.
(6) Interest on the investment sum (US $l,OOO,OOO.OO) and on other amounts found due to the Claimant from 20th February 2016, until payment.
(7) Damages for fraudulent misrepresentation or in the alternative damages for negligent misrepresentation;
(8) Damages for fraud and/or the tort of deceit in addition or alternative to damages for fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation;
(9) Rescission of the Investment Agreement and Limited Partnership Interest Repurchase Agreement;
(10) General damages and recovery of losses and expenses incurred as a result of the Defendant’s fraudulent misrepresentation and/or negligent misrepresentation and/or fraud and/or deceit, and rescission of an Investment Agreement and a Limited Partnership Interest Repurchase Agreement dated 12 February, 2016, and compound interest or interest pursuant to Section 27 A of the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court (Grenada) Act Chapter 336 of the laws of Grenada.
(11) Further or other relief; and